Fernando Magallanes

and the Magellan Strait


First to find the inland passage around Cape Horn in October of 1520.  He paved the way, or shall we say, smoothed the seas, Atlantic and Pacific, for an easier and safer sailing route through South America.  During the passage through the treacherous strait, he encountered strong currents that bubbled over hidden rocks and winds that howled down from the stark snow capped peaks.  He saw penguins for the first time and met the local shy natives, Patagonians.  It took him over a month to maneuver through the maze of channels that now bear his name.


Since then, numerous accounts of other sailors who have attempted rounding of Cape Horn have been written and even more have not, due to their failure to complete it.  On the small island of Isla Hornos, a sculpted monument in the shape of an Albatross stands in memory of those whose bodies and ships lie at the bottom of the sea where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet.


Sailors talk of the "Roaring Forties", and the "Screaming Sixties".  Referring to the torment of the wind and waves at the respective latitudes south of the equator.  We had read so many stories of the dangers and the beauty, and when the Holland America cruise line offered a ‘Rounding Cape Horn’ cruise, we looked at each other and agreed we must do this.  We live at 48 deg north, and 60 degrees south of the equator seemed so very far from home.